September 26, 2017

Tasmanian Health Minister launches QUIT4october

Pharmacists and GPs join forces to battle Tasmania’s high smoking rates

Hobart, Tasmania Monday 25 September 2017: As Tasmania continues to battle its high smoking rate, for the first time Lung Foundation Australia’s QUIT4october™ initiative is uniting GPs and pharmacists to help battle Tasmania’s high smoking rate.

QUIT4october is supporting the education of healthcare professionals to ensure better management and success rates for smokers to quit for good. The QUIT4october healthcare professional website provides access to smoking cessation educational modules, one for GPs and one for Pharmacists.

QUIT4october is a one month-long quit smoking initiative dedicated to helping people quit smoking with the support of their GP or pharmacist in October. Research shows that if a smoker can quit for a month, they are more than five times more likely to become a permanent ex-smoker.1

Tasmania has been selected as a priority state for QUIT4october as it has the second highest smoking rate (17.9 per cent) in Australia.2

Tasmanians are being called on to encourage friends and family who smoke to visit their local pharmacy or GP and find out more about the national Lung Foundation Australia smoking cessation and social media initiative, QUIT4october.

Health Minister of Tasmania The Hon Michael Ferguson said smoking rates in Tasmania are a serious issue that is  prioritised in the Tasmanian Government’s Healthy Tasmania Five Year Strategic Plan.

“We are excited to be supporting Lung Foundation Australia to launch QUIT4october —  a unique one month program to help Tasmanians quit smoking. I urge our community to join together and turn intention to action,” he said.

“Working together at a community level to encourage people to quit smoking is a vital step forward in promoting healthy living and preventing disease for a great number of people in Tasmania.

“That’s why we are urging each of the 92,000 smokers in Tasmania to register for QUIT4october which starts on Sunday 1 October 2017 at”

Lung Foundation Australia CEO Heather Allan said quitting smoking can be a lonely and isolating journey. That’s why QUIT4october focuses on providing support for people starting their quit journey, whether it is their first or their fiftieth attempt.

“We want people to know they are not alone and we, their health professional pharmacist and doctor, are there for them,” Mrs Allan said.

“Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health, regardless of how old you are or how long you’ve been smoking. Stopping smoking decreases the risk of lung and other cancers, heart attack, stroke and chronic disease,” she said.

The QUIT4october website has a public interactive information page about quitting smoking, an online lung health check and a downloadable checklist to support the conversations with GPs or pharmacists. Importantly, those who sign up on-line for the Quit4October campaign receive ongoing messages of support through regular emails and texts.

Associate Professor Renee Bittoun, President of Australian Association of Smoking Cessation Professionals said research showed the most successful way to quit smoking is with the support of your healthcare professional.

“We know 75 per cent of smokers want to quit and 40 per cent try at least once per year,” she said.

“Only three to five per cent of unassisted quit attempts are successful compared to up to 30 per cent of those that use healthcare professional support and stop-smoking medication,” Professor Bittoun said.

“Talking to a GP or pharmacist about a personalised quit smoking plan will motivate you, teach practical quitting skills and build a supportive environment for the quitting journey. If your healthcare professional advises using medication as part of your personalised quit plan it will increase your chances of quitting by up to three times and will ease the physical discomfort of nicotine withdrawal and reduce craving,” she said.